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Back to Poems from the Hoot

The Slow Taste Eden

Rhina P. Espaillat and Len Krisak were the featured readers at the October 1st Hoot. The vigorous
response of the packed house testified to the power of their voices. Among readers after the break was
Andrew Periale of Strafford, NH. A puppeteer and playwright by trade, he carries a pen for poetry in his
back pocket. After reading Charles Simic's "The Secret of the Yellow Room," Andrew was moved to
pen the real story on Sloths. Some of Simic's syntax snuck in-a tribute, not a steal:


The Slow Taste Eden

Sloths rest, hanging by their toes
From steaming emerald canopy,
Move glacially despite the heat,
Pass jungle nights ingesting leaves,
The days dozing on Nature's ceiling.

The silky plush of mammal fur
Hangs limply, damply off their backs
Green with algae: camouflage.
Sleeping slothlings cling,
Inhaling mother's scent as they nuzzle close.

A meal may be digested for a month.
Just once a week they rouse themselves to pee,
Sigh, then afterward not even that.
Majestic stupor. Stirring only at midnight
To change trees beneath the yellow moon.

--Andrew Periale

Try this out loud. It won't read fast. Those pentameter lines with their two and three syllable words, their long vowels, slow the pace. And then there's that dozing quality of the "s" sounds-the alliteration-especially in lines 9 & 10. Not to mention the pause caused by pondering glacial movement in sweltering heat. We not only get to see these furry, algae coated mammals but also to feel them as well. Feel like them-hanging out, ingesting leaves. And as we watch them changing trees under a yellow moon, we get a hint of the significance of the poem's title. Can it be that velocity results
in Paradise Lost? --JP

"The Slow Taste Eden" copyright Andrew Periale, 2003. Andrew is the editor of PUPPETRY INTERNATIONAL magazine, and the creator of the cowboy crooner, Woody-Boy Johnson, whose CD of original songs has sold dozens of copies! Note: To be considered for publication, Poems from the Hoot should not exceed nineteen lines.

Note: To be considered for publication in this space, poems read at The Poetry Hoot should not
exceed nineteen lines. Line length should be limited to fifteen words.



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